America the Beautiful
- Explain that Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write the words of this song as she looked out over the beautiful scenery while standing on Pikes Peak in Colorado. Play a recording (suggested recording: Mormon Tabernacle Choir) of the song while turning the pages in a book.
- Play a YouTube video of the song and let the students see the scenery.
- Ask students to describe the different kinds of scenery they see: mountains, forests, lakes, waterfalls, etc. Ask the students if they can describe places they have visited with different kinds of scenery. Find those states on a United States map.
- Ask students to sing along as they listen again. Also, below is a PDF of the lyrics if you want the older students to read along while singing.
- Find a coloring sheet of scenery online (do an online search for the words “america scenery coloring” and many options will come up) and have students color or draw while listening to different versions of the song.
Fifty Nifty United States
I love the song Fifty Nifty United States by Ray Charles (not the same Ray Charles who sings America the Beautiful in one of the videos above). I can’t reproduce it here because of the copyright. But you can easily find the lyrics and recording online.
- Print out the word search below on one side of a piece of paper, and on the other side print out a United States map (do an online search for “United States map”). Ask students to name which states they have visited, and find them on the map. On the bottom of the word search, have students name as many states as they can. Then they can look for them in the word search while listening to the song.
- For older students, print out both sheets below (front and back). See if students can fill out some state names without listening to the song first. Have a class discussion and fill out as many as you can.
- Listen to the song and fill out even more states. See if students can sing along, especially to the middle of the song that lists all of the states.
Extras for Plus Members
- America the Beautiful lyrics
- Fifty Nifty Worksheet & Word Search